Sunday, September 30, 2007

Liverpool Sign The "Messi Of Madrid"

Gerardo Bruna has already been dubbed the "Messi of Madrid", the former Real Madrid youth player now making his way to Anfield.

Liverpool have completed the signing of Real Madrid youngster Gerardo Bruna.

The 16 year old, of Argentinean extraction, will join up with the Anfield side's youth teams after being earmarked as the next Lionel Messi.

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez himself has apparently given his approval to the signing, citing the youngster as a long-term investment.

This isn't the first time that an English club has sought young talent in Spain. One need only remember Francesc Fabregas, who was brought to Arsenal as a teenager from the Barcelona youth ranks, as was Fran Merida last year.

Gerard Pique, too, was brought to England by Manchester United from Barcelona, albeit to return to Spain on loan last season.

For now, though, all eyes are on Bruna, a player of considerable renown back in Madrid, despite his tender years.

Gerardo Bruna Blanco, born on 29th January 1991, is not considered anywhere near ready for league football, but is rather seen as one for the future. Perhaps, even, the not-too-distant future.

Fowler Set To Make Anfield Return

Robbie Fowler will return to the ground where he remains revered after Cardiff were dealt a trip to Liverpool in the fourth round of the Carling Cup.

The 32-year-old left Liverpool for the second time at the end of last season when he was not offered a new contract by manager Rafael Benítez, but remains massively popular on the Kop.

He has scored four goals in five starts since joining Cardiff, including a brace in their midweek Carling Cup win over West Brom.

Coventry's reward for eliminating Manchester United, meanwhile, is home draw against another big-spending Premier League team, West Ham.

There are two all-Premier League ties: Bolton against Manchester City and Portsmouth versus Blackburn.

Tottenham will host Blackpool, while Gary Megson's Leicester will be away to Chelsea. Everton face a tricky trip to lone League One survivors Luton, while Arsenal's youngsters will have to overcome Bryan Robson's Sheffield United.

The matches will be played in the week commencing the October 29.

Wigan Athletic 0 - 1 LiverpooL

Yossi Benayoun ended Liverpool's mini crisis as Wigan suffered a 17th defeat in 17 matches against the Barclays Premier League's fabled 'big four'.

Liverpool had endured goalless draws in their previous two league games, sparking much criticism of boss Rafael Benitez's rotation policy.

In the end it was substitute Benayoun, a £5million buy from West Ham in the summer, who netted a 75th minute winner for his first league goal for the Reds.
Fernando Torres avoided the axe of boss Benitez's rotation policy.

After scoring a hat-trick in the Carling Cup victory at Reading in midweek, the club record £26million striker managed to retain his place in the starting line-up.

Benitez showed seven changes from the team that faced the Royals, but only two from the side that drew at home to Birmingham a week ago, with Torres and Alvaro Arbeloa replacing Andriy Voronin and Ryan Babel.

Wigan, who have lost all four previous league games to Liverpool without scoring a goal, also showed two changes from the team beaten 2-1 at Reading last week.
Julius Aghahowa started his first game this season with Antoine Sibierski out with a hamstring injury, while Emmerson Boyce took over from the benched Andreas Granqvist.

The visitors had the opening chance inside 70 seconds, with former Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland behind a fierce 25-yard drive from Steven Gerrard following a short free-kick lay-off from John Arne Riise.

The Latics replied in the fifth minute, but Marcus Bent was too greedy in electing to shoot from distance when in space, firing wide to the disappointment of Aghahowa who was waiting for a pass inside.

Wigan then bossed matters for the following few minutes prior to a Liverpool break that culminated in an effort from Torres being blocked by Boyce.

Another counter followed in the 18th minute, with Riise and Torres combining before the latter chipped a cross into the area where Jermaine Pennant met the ball first time, only for Kevin Kilbane to block.

As the half wore on it was becoming easier for Liverpool, and they came close again in the 23rd minute with Dirk Kuyt setting up Riise for a flicked shot from 12 yards that was deflected wide.

That was followed by Kuyt cushioning a right-wing cross from Pennant into the path of Torres, but the striker scuffed his shot from just inside the area.
Then on the half hour life-long Liverpool fan Jason Koumas almost paid the penalty for a woeful error on the halfway line, passing directly to Kuyt who immediately set Torres clear.
After outpacing Boyce, Torres stabbed a shot goalwards that was blocked at point-blank range by Kirkland, but with the ricochet coming off the Spaniard and rebounding inches past the left-hand post.

The spectacular followed from Torres two minutes later, dragging a scissor kick just wide in meeting a right-wing ball from Arbeloa, with Wigan's defence nowhere.
HT Wigan 0 Liverpool 0

In front of a near sell-out crowd of 24,311, Bent had the ball in the net in the 50th minute, but it was controversially ruled out.

Aghahowa, running back when the ball was played in by Skoko, was offside, but not Bent who was three yards onside when the cross was delivered before he fired past Reina, only for the flag to stifle his delight.

Five minutes later Koumas forced the first meaningful save out of Reina with a 20-yard drive, before a combination of Kirkland and Skoko denied Kuyt shortly after.

In an end-to-end encounter, a Koumas cross over the top found Scharner beat Reina to the ball on the edge of the six-yard area, but his ungainly flick with the right foot went wide.

Gerrard, not on top of his game with his passing in particular wayward, sent a 25-yard drive narrowly wide.
Then 15 minutes from time the deadlock was finally broken with Yossi Benayoun, on in the 56th minute for Fabio Aurelio, beat Kirkland with a low curling shot from just inside the area.

Voronin replaced Pennant and Mohamed Sissoko came on for Torres in the final 10 minutes as Liverpool held on for the victory.
Yet it was close as Aghahowa should have buried a header in the first of three minutes of injury time, but nodded wide from six yards following a pinpoint Koumas cross.

FT Wigan 0 Liverpool 1